Developing an Evaluation Terms of Reference (TOR)

Developing an Evaluation Terms of Reference (TOR) Course Description

The evaluation terms of reference (TOR) lays the groundwork and sets the guideposts for an evaluation’s future success. Knowing how to develop a clear and comprehensive TOR is an essential skill for commissioners and funders, for new and mid-career professionals, for program managers, and for proposal writers!

In this two-module course, participants will learn how to get down to “TOR business” and increase the quality and even impact of evaluations, while saving resources in the long run.

Participants will emerge with the tools and strategies they need to:

  • Effectively plan, develop, and write a TOR
  • Ensure the TOR is clear, specifies important requirements, and complies with regulations without being unnecessarily constraining
  • Use the TOR as an integral evaluation management tool for selecting evaluation teams and guiding their work
  • Understand how proposal writers and evaluators read a TOR
  • Increase the quality of the commissioned evaluations

Participants should come ready to dive into a participatory learning process focused on application and practice. When you are through, we want you to have the tools and resources you need to improve your TORs and therefore your evaluation results!

This course is delivered in two virtual instructor-led modules, delivered online through Zoom. Participants who successfully complete both modules will receive certificates of completion at the end of the course.

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Module 1: Laying the groundwork of the TOR

Module 1 builds the groundwork for developing the TOR. We will explore what needs to be in place for launching the TOR, set up the first guideposts, and tackle the resource question. Using case examples, checklists, and group work, Module 1 will teach participants how to:

  •  Time the TOR in the project cycle
  • Assess the feasibility and readiness for the TOR
  • Define the scope and objectives of the so-called “evaluand”
  • Present a useful intervention logic

 Module 2: Developing the TOR

Module 2 focuses on developing and writing down-to-earth TORs. Building on the groundwork from Module 1, we will explore and work on the essential elements of the TOR needed to productively guide the evaluation process. Module 2 will teach participants how to:
  • Frame realistic evaluation questions
  • Frame the evaluation approach and methods without over-specifying
  • Develop a suitable profile for the evaluation team
  • Set out tasks and the work plan

To learn about upcoming course deliveries,